• Sun
  • Jul 27, 2014
  • Updated: 3:18pm
NewsHong Kong
CRIME

All that glitters: businessman 'who bought HK$270m of gold' ends up with metal bars

Probe into HK$270m riddle of bullion from Africa switched for metal bars continues

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 June, 2014, 5:31pm
UPDATED : Friday, 06 June, 2014, 11:54am

Police were last night making arrangements with a mainland businessman to check whether HK$270 million of gold bullion he bought in Africa was genuine after part of the consignment was swapped with metal bars.

On Wednesday, Zhao Jingjun, 43, opened part of his shipment in front of his buyer in Hong Kong and discovered the gold had been switched for worthless metal.

A senior officer said it would be the city's biggest heist in a decade if it was confirmed that all the gold had been stolen.

An initial inquiry showed Zhao purchased 998kg of gold bars from a company in Ghana in mid-April, police said.

The consignment, in 14 cases, was escorted by his staff and delivered from Ghana on a chartered flight late last month.

"Officers were told that his employee confirmed the cases contained the gold before it was loaded onto the chartered flight in Ghana," a police source said.

The source said the employee left Hong Kong after the consignment was handed to the staff of a logistics company at Chek Lap Kok airport. It was then couriered to a Tsuen Wan warehouse.

The businessman arrived from Hebei province on Monday and checked into the Kowloon Shangri-La hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. On Wednesday, he had five of the cases couriered to his buyer's Hung Hom office.

"When he opened the boxes, he found they were filled with metal bars instead of gold bullion," the source said. "He told officers the cases appeared to have been tampered with."

Police received a report from Zhao on Wednesday night when he returned to his hotel room.

He went to Tsim Sha Tsui police station yesterday with documents proving he bought the bullion in Ghana and that it was delivered to Hong Kong.

A police investigator said: "We don't rule out the possibility that the gold bullion may have been switched for metal bars before being delivered to Hong Kong."

Zhao has reportedly made several such transactions. His business activities include the purchase of iron ore from Australia, Africa and South America.

Four years ago, 265 gold bars were taken from a Yuen Long company. Police arrested three men and recovered most of the HK$90 million in bullion stolen.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

5390e792-aa74-442b-a753-34fb0a320969
The gold was checked
"Officers were told that his employee confirmed the cases contained the gold before it was loaded onto the chartered flight in Ghana,"
a flight with the businessman in attendance,
so therefore look to
" a logistics company at Chek Lap Kok airport. It was then couriered to a Tsuen Wan warehouse.".
The "employee" who checked the gold in Ghana wouldn't have the wherewithal for such a heist,
the Ghanaian company would suffer eternal irreparable damage,
The businessman himself would become suspect if he is found to be in financial difficulties, but
I doubt it,
my suspicions lie between the logistics company and the warehouse,
they knew what to expect and would have all that is required to spirit away such a large shipment.
tkruemmer
International gold price is above USD 1200/ounce. If he buys at less than USD 1000/ounce from Ghana, is he really intellectually so challenged that he actually expects receiving real gold at 20% below the world market price? Quite unbelievable.
Baggy
oh jeez from Ghana... wat a trustworthy transaction! and wonder how he found that company, maybe from a random email of a dead politician's family from Ghana?
mh0908
Gold is real money and this sounds a lot like the Italian Job.
tkruemmer
No, he is just intellectually challenged and beset by blinding greed. 20% below the world market price and he expects to receive real gold? Even if you take your gold to a bank in Ghana you get world market price for your gold, why should anyone sell lower than that?
sipsip1238
Firstly, how arrogant do you need to be to transport gold bars around, and obviously the buyers get a good kick out of it.
Secondly, how do we know this isn't just insurance fraud, economy isn't going that well in China right now
dascaldasf
Perhaps it was 'metal' from the beginning ... or maybe this goes to show that not everything is what it seems to be.
donniemcm
"The source said the employee left Hong Kong after the consignment was handed to the staff of a logistics company at Chek Lap Kok airport." don't want to go hasty on conclusion but we have our answers here ...
chaz_hen
And he's the party secretary of what department? A CCP stalwart for sure...
andreaswagner
LOL, priceless:)

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